"During the making of this I was questioning my abilities and my sanity. The mind is a powerful thing, but making these songs were my therapy.” - Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes.
Le Butcherettes is a Mexican garage punk band that was born in 2007 in Guadalajara and is currently made up of the captivating Teri Gender Bender (vocals, guitar, keyboards), Alejandra Robles (drums), Rikardo Rodríguez-López (guitar, synths), and Marfred Rodríguez-López (bass). Le Butcherettes has recently released a video for their song spider/WAVES along with an EP called struggle/STRUGGLE. They are also currently getting ready to kick off their tour next week as they play with The Flaming Lips in Chicago.
I had the opportunity to see Le Butcherettes last year when they opened up for At The Drive In at the El Paso County Coliseum. Se me cayo la baba. Teri came out with a green one piece and red heels and as soon as the first notes were played and she began singing, it was mind-blowing. During the performance, Teri took off her green on-piece to reveal her stage staple, red dress and red tights, never distracting away from the performance. She is truly a force to be reckoned with. Not once did the energy go down and even when Teri’s keyboards fell down the show went on like nothing had happened. It was all raw energy. I could never put into words (and still cannot) how awesome seeing Le Butcherettes live was.
This past week, I had the honor to be able to have a phone interview with Teri Gender Bender, wicked front woman of Le Butcherettes. It started off with a timid “Hola” on both sides, but it soon turned into a wonderful conversation.
Throughout the years, Le Butcherettes has under gone changes with the band members so the first thing I asked Teri Gender Bender was, “who is Le Butcherettes in 2018?” She answered right away, “the band right now, is a line-up made up of all Latinos. Throughout, the years we have had a lot of different cultures within the band, but now we are talking more in Spanish and going back to our roots. We are in a good place right now. It’s about being in the moment.” It is evident the band chemistry is good and organic at the time and so far it has produced awesome content like spider/WAVES and the three versions of struggle/STRUGGLE.
Talking about their latest singles, I asked Teri to walk me through spider/WAVES, including the music video because Le Butcherettes is known for using a lot of symbolism and metaphors within their work and after watching the music video many times there is no doubt it is full of them.
Previously, Teri mentioned that she wore a Chichimeccan warrior outfit in honor of her grandmother, but I asked her about the rest of the video like regarding the milk-filled tub she was in as well as other scenes. Teri laughed, “according to myself, when I am alone in the video I am trying to be a mannequin, but there are also bad people there that want to hurt me. I don’t have my parents taking care of me at this point.” She then started explaining that the milk in the video is a nasty substance that she is drowning in as part of the bigger meaning of the video. “There is a point in the video where I am in the car with three dead bodies. They happen to be the bodies of my band mates and I am this stuck with guilt and it represents the guilt I carry and one carries. There is a spider in the video and I am scared of spiders, but making this video was cathartic and it helped me channel and deal with a rage I was feeling inside."
Teri Gender Bender, has always had most control over the creative process when it comes to producing her music. It was always mostly she, her songs and a producer. Yet, there is something different about the new material and I asked her how the process for this latest EP differs from Le Butcherette’s previous work, especially since the band is now signed to Rise Records.
“Normally, I would write the songs and then once they were done I would give the band members their own parts, but this time it was different. When I worked on my songs with Jerry Harrison (producer and member of The Talking Heads) it was a new experience. He is a genius! Es un cabron, un maestro! He taught me to be patient. He taught me that it is okay to be stuck on the same song for five hours as long as the process is going right. During the making of this I was questioning my abilities and my sanity. The mind is powerful, but making these songs were my therapy.”
At the beginning of the interview I told Teri that I don’t always have the honor to interview a Latina front woman and as a final question I asked her what her experience with the music industry has been as a woman and as someone who has had control of her work. “I think that in order to have a project and grow, there has to be uncomfortable conversations with your team. Talking is key. At the beginning, I would let people step on me and use me like a “towel”." Teri mentioned that she, however, became assertive in her project decisions and communicates often what she needs. She said that as a business woman it is okay to micro-manage. “Do what you have to do.”
I want to give a big thank you to Teri Gender Bender for this interview. Follow up on what the band has going on under @lebutcherettes on Instagram! Stay tuned for some awesome new things!
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